“The new policy is an important step forward in improving and institutionalizing efforts to reduce, investigate and respond to civilian harm. It is particularly important that the military acknowledges the need and obligation to take specific measures to protect civilians in conflict, such as considering alternatives to attacking military objectives that endanger civilians, and carefully selecting weapons and munitions that have the least possible adverse impact on civilians.
“We are concerned, however, that the military’s investigations of civilian harm still do not require interviews with witnesses and survivors, although they are an option ‘to the extent reasonably practicable.’
“Amnesty International has investigated and reported on civilian harm caused by U.S. forces and U.S.-led coalitions over the last decade and has found such interviews to be critical to understanding who was harmed in these operations, how and why. We will continue to urge the Department of Defense to include in its civilian harm assessments interviews with witnesses and survivors of U.S. actions that are alleged to have caused harm, as their views are critical to any fair assessment of what happened and who was harmed.”